After a young Leukemia patient’s life was spared after using cannabis, additional research has shown that CBD can destroy leukemia cells. The wonder drug proved to be a remarkable alternative to traditional leukemia treatment, and it has opened new doors for medical marijuana as a treatment option. Here is the case of young cancer survivor Landon Riddle, and how cannabis saved his life.
Landon Riddle: A Young Warrior
Landon was just two years old when he was diagnosed with Leukemia. A team of doctors suggested to Riddle’s mother, Sierra, that the young boy should undergo chemotherapy. The doctors had a treatment of mind that would take up to four years to destroy the cancer cells. Riddle would also have to be on a cocktail of pain medication to help with the grueling process. Morphine, OxyCotin, and Ativan were prescribed to help young Landon cope with his variety of treatments.
Months into the treatment, Landon’s mother Sierra became fed up with the painstaking process. Cannabis seemed like the only viable option at the time. However, the family lived in Utah—a notorious stickler for medical marijuana. The family made the decision to move to Colorado, one of the only states where medical cannabis was legal for children.
However, Landon was able to land his medical card, becoming the youngest child to do so. This became a topic of national debate. Sierra’s decision to get her son medical marijuana became a highly controversial one. However, when Landon started his cannabis treatment, his health remarkably improved. As opposed to the variety of pills he was taking in prior treatments, Landon actually felt good again. Sierra took her son off the chemo, OxyContin, morphine, and Ativan altogether. Doctors disagreed with the decision, but Riddle fought against them. They even tried to get Child Protective Services involved but to no avail.
Almost five years later, Landon Riddle is now cancer-free, although he does still feel some of the affects. He still uses cannabis to deal with digestive problems, in additions to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, the mother-son duo has become staunch cannabis advocates. They have even managed to pass a bill that allows child patients take their medical marijuana to school.
Both anecdotal evidence and clinical research are beginning to show the promise of cannabis in treating a variety of health issues. According to one family in the U.K., cannabis helped a dying teenage boy recover fully from complications from leukemia. The family recently appeared on the British talk show, This Morning, to discuss their experience.
Callie Blackwell’s son Deryn had been fighting leukemia followed by Langerhans cell sarcoma for four years — since the age of ten. Following doctors’ fourth and final attempt at a bone marrow transplant, they warned the family it was the last opportunity to save his life.
Though the surgery was successful, Deryn’s mother says he contracted an infection in the hospital. He grew extremely ill, and according to Callie, “He was literally being kept alive by antibiotics. That’s what they told us.” Doctors estimated he had three days to a week left to live following the turbulent aftermath of his transplant.
Deryn says he was ready to give up and had started planning his funeral. “After four years of treatment, it [was] enough,” he told This Morning.
In the meantime, however, his mother had been researching cannabis treatments. She says she kept hearing about it through word of mouth. However, because his cancer was technically already gone – he was succumbing to complications in the form of hand and stomach issues — she didn’t think it was a viable option.
Cannabis has recently been found, at least in preliminary laboratory testing, to shrink cancer cells. This early research is increasingly backed up by anecdotal evidence. Still, Callie didn’t think it applied and rejected cannabis as a potential treatment.
“The cancers [were] gone,” she said. “This [was] now a completely different issue. I would dismiss it and dismiss it.”
Nevertheless, Deryn remained sick and in hospice care, taking large doses of fentanyl, the strongest opiate painkiller on the market. He was still expected to die.
Callie asked doctors about Bedrocan, a cannabis-based pain relief product popular in Europe. “I wanted to go through the proper measures,” she said. However, she doctors told her it wasn’t an option because it hadn’t been approved for use in children.
That’s when she decided to obtain cannabis illegally and give it a chance. “He’s dying anyway,” she said.
Deryn, too, was open to the alternative treatment. “I was happy to [try it],” he said.
The New YorkDaily Newsexplains that Deryn’s parents “met with a dealer to buy marijuana. They then found a recipe online that showed them how to turn it into a liquid form so they could give it to their teenage son.”
Callie clarified on This Morning that they did not use CBD (cannabidiol) or THC oil, the oils currently gaining popularity for treating everything from Parkinson’s disease to epilepsy to anxiety — and potentially cancer. Rather, they simply used a tincture.
“The effects of it blew my mind. It wasn’t what I expected,” she said.
Within half an hour to an hour, Deryn, who had been overcome with anxiety over his impending death, “was chilled out, just relaxed.”
Deryn’s condition improved not just emotionally, but physically. For example, when doctors removed bandages from his hands, expecting little to no progress, his fingers showed signs of recovery.
Further, doctors had warned that his white blood cell count would remain nonexistent, but after just five days of taking cannabis — 75 days after his final bone marrow transplant — they returned.
“All of a sudden his white count [had] appeared. Doctors were running around frantically” to do more testing, Callie said, though she added that at that time, Deryn’s white blood cell count was still very low.
To test the effectiveness of the tincture, Callie says she withdrew the treatment and the white blood cell count “started to go down again.”
Though Callie made it clear that she doesn’t endorse cannabis as a treatment that will cure cancer or work for everyone who tries it, she has no regrets about giving it to her son.
Experts are optimistic about the potential of cannabis, though they caution it is difficult to discern exactly what dynamic helped restore Deryn’s health, noting it could have been something entirely separate from cannabis that spurred his recovery. Further clinical research is needed to tease out exactly what alleviated his symptoms, as well as what causes such positive results in other patients who find success with cannabis.
As far as cancer is concerned, there is a great deal of uncertainty, as well as promise. “There have been lots of studies looking at the effect of cannabis on cells growing in the lab, but that’s been quite mixed, it seems to have had different effects on different types of cancer cells,” says Emma Smith, science information manager for Cancer Research U.K., as reported by the Independent.
For now, it remains illegal in the U.K., much of the United States, and many parts of the world. As one This Morning host interjected, “Anyone using the drug for any reason could be charged with possession.”
For Deryn’s parents, the risk was worth it. Deryn now aspires to open his own vegan restaurant. In his own words, he’s “Perfectly healthy. My white blood [cells] are all normal.”
Cannabis Oil Is Gathering An Unstoppable Momentum As A World Class Healer
Cannabis oil is used in cancer treatment. There are already numerous cases around the world which confirm the healing aspect of cannabis oil.
Cannabis oil has healed some very serious diseases, including anxiety disorders, epilepsy, MS (Multiple Sclerosis), cerebral palsy and cancer.
What’s the difference between cannabis, hemp and marijuana?
First of all, let’s clear up some definitions. Cannabis sativa is the plant and species; hemp and marijuana are both varieties or subspecies of it. Marijuana is actually a Spanish slang term meaning “Mary-Jane”.
Marijuana is simply considered to have a higher THC content than hemp. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is one of the unique phytonutrients or plant chemicals of cannabis. However, both hemp and marijuana contain various cannabinoids, a class of chemicals that activate cell membrane receptors.
A brief history of the suppression of cannabis
To those unfamiliar with the beginning of the United States, it may come as a shock to learn that hemp was a big part of the inception.
Not only was hemp (in all of its forms) completely legal, but also it was actually required to be planted by the early colonists! The Founding Fathers made references to it in their writings and grew it themselves.
It was widely known that hemp was an incredible plant with a wide variety of uses: textiles, rope, clothing, paper, fuel, nutrition, medicine and recreation. So how did hemp fall from such exalted status to become an illegal “controlled substance”, for which you could be imprisoned due to mere possession of it?
Woman Claims Her Lung Cancer Was Cured By Cannabis Oil
Many stories of cannabis oil curing cancer have arisen, but are they valid?
There have been many stories unfolding about people who have cured themselves of terminal cancers by using pure cannabis oil rather than going through chemotherapy. For instance, Michelle Aldrich was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in January of 2012. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the US. In 2015, there were 221,200 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed – of those, 158,040 have died. Aldrich was classified with stage three cancer, and rather than forgo chemotherapy, chose to use highly concentrated cannabis oil to help her cancer instead.
Within four months, her CT scans came back with her tumor massively reduced in size. She had what remained of the tumor surgically removed, and she is now cancer free.
In the lab, cannabinoid cells have been found to trigger cell death through apoptosis, they stop cells from dividing, they reduce the chances of cancer cells spreading through the body and they speed of the cell’s autophagy – which leads to cell death.
But there are many studies that show conflicting results. Some research has also shown that cannabinoids actually encourage cancer cells to grow and could harm crucial blood vessel cells.
Active Compound in Cannabis Found to Shield the Brain from Alzheimer’s Disease
Bad news for Alzheimer’s disease: THC (the active chemical compound in marijuana) is officially acknowledged to remove the toxic bundle of amyloid beta protein that onsets the evolution of the disease, ultimately damaging the brain beyond repair.
This late discovery is backed up by previous studies revealing the effective and protective qualities of cannabinoids and THC over patients suffering from this neurodegenerative disease.
Little is known about what exactly causes Alzheimer’ disease, but so far it’s believed to be caused by two types of lesions: neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques. The amyloid plaques form dense groups between the neurons, and the neurofibrillary tangles are produced by defective tau proteins that bundle up into a thick, insoluble mass in neurons.
The biological mechanism behind the formation of these lesions is yet a mystery, but recent studies have linked the inflammation in brain tissue to the spread of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.
“Inflammation within the brain is a major component of the damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but it has always been assumed that this response was coming from immune-like cells in the brain, not the nerve cells themselves,” said Antonio Currais, member of Scripps Research Institute.
“When we were able to identify the molecular basis of the inflammatory response to amyloid beta, it became clear that THC-like compounds that the nerve cells make themselves may be involved in protecting the cells from dying,” he concluded.
The most important health discovery of the century for cancer and more!
If you or someone you know and love is faced with cancer or another life threatening or debilitating illness, and the information shared here and on our cancer page connects with you, please reach out to us through our contact page to learn more about how to implement this strategy as our family did.
It’s been said that the most powerful weapons that a cancer patient possesses in their fight are information and an open mind. Unfortunately, we along with nearly all new patients diagnosed with cancer didn’t have a chance to use these weapons. I think back to sitting in the oncologist’s office when my wife was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in October of 2012, and in a neurologist’s office for my son’s glioma (brain tumor) diagnosis in July of 2013, and having the fear of God put into us. There is no time for gathering information and keeping an open mind to alternative treatments when dealing with the medical establishement. Their answer is “immediately start our prescribed treatment plan, or certain death awaits”. After the initial shock of hearing this, we immediately began treatment as nearly everyone who has the shock of hearing “you have cancer” does.
That treatment plan will consist of either chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation, but most likely a combination of more than one of these options. Throughout my wife’s brutal battle including all three of these and two prolonged hospital stays, followed by watching my son nearly lose his life to chemotherapy and then losing half of his eyesight from surgery, the fear of losing them led to hundreds of hours researching these three chosen modalities of the cancer industry in great detail. Here’s what I’ve gathered after doing so.
First, I believe that the cancer industry’s understanding of the disease and how to attack it is misguided. The proliferation of cancer in the body is not something to “be attacked”, but a warning sign put out by the body that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. It’s typically a build up of toxins after a severe drop in our immune systems. This can be brought on by a variety of issues including continually eating the wrong foods, using products with known carcinogens in them, lack of proper hydration, and a number of other environmental factors, but the most important and overlooked factor is stress in ones life. In the majority of cancer patients, something stressful was happening in their lives in the months and years leading up to their diagnosis that needs to be addressed and changed if it is to be beaten and stay in remission.
CannaKids Connects Sick Children and Their Parents With Cannabis
When Tracy Ryan’s daughter Sophie was just 8 months old, doctors found a tumor in the newborn’s brain.
Doctors told Ryan that the slow-growing optic pathway glioma tumor near her daughter’s left eye would never go away. And if the tumor continued to grow, Sophie could lose vision in that eye.
Faced with the prospect of their daughter’s blindness, Ryan joined an increasing number of parents who are turning to cannabis to treat their children for illnesses ranging from cancer to epilepsy.
After nearly two years of chemotherapy combined with highly concentrated cannabis oil, made mostly of non-psychoactive, can’t-get-you-high cannabidiol (CBD) with traces of psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — Sophie’s tumor has shrunk.
Cannabis Derived CBD Used To Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
Recent research out of Australia took mice that were bred to mimic symptoms of Alzheimers and who were given CBD from cannabis, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid caused a drastic improvement in memory within the mice tested. Although more studies are still going to be needed to get further results, early results are showing signs in memory improvement and physical results will be tested next. 
“Cannabinoids are the first and only class of drugs that have ever been effective,” said Gary Wenk, a professor of neuroscience, immunology and medical genetics at Ohio State University.
Alzheimer’s, a neurological disease causing people to forget skills, familiar faces or even simple things they did that day, is becoming a larger issue in our world as the food that surrounds us and our environment often contains heavy metals. Currently affecting over 5 million in America and with rates of about 1 in 9 who may experience it in their lifetime, many believe that as the baby boomers continue to age, numbers will sky rocket. 
Currently, many of the highly prescribed drugs for Alzheimer’s act to boost levels of acetylcholine, however, time and time again these drugs have been proven to be ineffective and come with negative side effects. As research continues to develop, more is learned about Alzheimer’s which opens the door for new treatment methods. Recent research points to chronic inflammation as the cause of Alzheimer’s. As plaque builds up, neuron-signalling is blocked which triggers cell death through arterial inflammation. Since CBD has been tested and shown to be a potent anti-inflammatory, utilizing CBD as a treatment against Alzheimer’s made sense. CBD has also been shown to promote the growth of new brain cells.
While the verdict is still yet to be out on whether or not these strains are genetically modified, from speaking directly with doctors in the field working with cannabis treatments, my feeling is we should be exploring untouched strains that are not to be manipulated and that ideally aren’t government. These strains were actually bred before researchers started studying CBD in a formal, scientific manner.
Endocannabinoids are derived from fatty acids in a very complex process. They serve as critical signals for a wide variety of brain functions. “Endo” refers to cannabinoids made in the brain, as opposed to “phytocannabinoids” made in plants and ingested. For simplicity, this post will use the general term “cannabinoids” when referring to the two endocannabinoids critical for brain function—AEA and 2-AG.
A previous post described the extremely elaborate system of fatty acid derivatives that are critical signaling molecules. Two specific fatty acids, DHA and ARA, enter the brain and cellular membranes where they attach to phospholipids for storage and await release by special enzymes. One in 10,000 of these fatty acids are unattached to the membrane lipoproteins and are actively metabolized into many important signals through the mysterious Land cycle. One well-known derivative of ARA is prostaglandin, a vital part of the inflammation response. Perhaps, the most important derivatives are cannabinoids that are critical for neuron and glia function. In the fetus, cannabinoid signals determine the fate of neuronal stem cells and glia and then switch to become the critical factors in the creation of the synapses for the developing brain. They are vital for every aspect of the creation of the structure of the fetal brain including directing neuron migration and axons and dendrite development.
A tremendous amount of progress has been made in understanding production of proteins from DNA and RNA. Because of this, genes can be “knocked out” (eliminated) and the effects of specific proteins can be studied. No such technology exists to study fatty acids, which are commonly part of many very complex metabolic cycles. As a result, it is extremely difficult to study how these thousands of different molecules are used in metabolic energy metabolism, as structural molecules, and as signals for vital brain functions. While known to be extremely important for all brain functions, fatty acid signaling is just now being described.
This post will outline what is currently known about these vital brain cannabinoids.
Two Vital Cannabinoids
The most important and abundant cannabinoid for the neuronal system is 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) and the second is AEA (anandamide or N-arachidonoylethanolamine.) Both of these, and many other fat signals, stimulate the two cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. They, also, stimulate other important families of fatty acid receptors. AEA has variable effects on receptors both partially stimulating and partially antagonist.
Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, hemp is classified under marijuana but Wyden points out that they are “very, very different in key ways.
Wyden iterated to his colleagues at the Senate:
“Industrial hemp does not have the psychoactive properties of marijuana. You’d have as much luck getting high by smoking cotton from a T-shirt as you would by smoking hemp,”
He believes that the ban, in addition to being inaccurate, has held the American farmer back from capitalizing on this valuable plant, believing it to look “like illegality for the sake of illegality.”
Wyden introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act in January 2015. Passing the act will reclassify hemp and exclude it from the Controlled Substances Act. 12 senators from across the aisle have signed on, including Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul and Jeff Merkley.
CBD Oil Saved This Man From One of the Worst Man-Made Disasters in US History
Cannabis is increasingly known to treat a variety of ailments, but a new, unexpected use for the plant recently has emerged amid one of the worst man-made disasters in American history. Thousands of residents were sickened and evacuated when a decrepit methane storage well at SoCalGas’ northern Los Angeles Aliso Canyon facility ruptured, initiating a months-long blowout that unleashed 100,000 metric tons of methane into the atmosphere from October to February — though it’s possible an even higher volume was released.
Residents of Porter Ranch and other nearby communities experienced nausea, bloody noses, and skin rashes, to name a few symptoms. One resident of nearby Granada Hills, located only two miles from Aliso Canyon, though ineligible for relocation, began to experience staggering cluster headaches. They are often called “suicide headaches” because the chronic pain can be so extreme, doctors have seen patients kill themselves to escape it. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous for reasons explained in this article, developed the condition just days before SoCalGas publicly acknowledged the leak. With few options and in severe pain, he found relief from cannabidiol (CBD) oil.
“I never experienced a single cluster headache in my life prior to the onset of these, and my symptoms virtually parallel the timeframe of the Aliso Canyon gas leak,” he told Anti-Media in an interview.“They came on with a vengeance when it began and subsided only after it was plugged.”
The man, who will be referred to as “Roger Stein,” described his symptoms:
“They began by actually waking me up in the middle of the night. They feel different from migraines, tending to start in the left top rear of the head and gradually pushing out from behind the right eye, which swells nearly shut and reddens by morning,” he explained. Stein sent a picture of his irritated right eye to his doctor, who determined his symptoms were consistent with cluster headaches.
Though Stein, 62, had experienced severe headaches before, he says these were different. “I was familiar with occasional migraine headaches. I controlled migraines very well with Excedrin and lying down, but I only suffer migraines on the average of twice per year,” he said.
Excedrin failed to stop the pain from the cluster headaches. When his doctor couldn’t pinpoint a cause, Stein tried several plans of action. He began keeping a diet and pain log to gain more insight into what could be causing the problem. He also tried several other treatments.
“I read that the symptoms of cluster headaches are similar to those of oxygen deprivation to the brain,” he said (oxygen deprivation is also a symptom of exposure to high levels of methane). He began using concentrated chlorophyll and an over-the-counter nasal spray containing capsaicin to treat the potential oxygen deprivation, and though they worked temporarily, after several weeks they ceased to be effective.
After an MRI found he had a “normal, healthy brain,” ruling out the possibility of a tumor, Stein was given several options.
His doctor recommended he try breathing with an oxygen tank, but Stein’s insurance did not cover the recommended amount. He was hesitant to begin using costly, potentially harmful drugs such as Imitrex, a migraine drug. That drug was his main option, but one of the side effects from continued use was more headaches — albeit not migraines — as well as pain or tightness in the chest, spinning sensations, tingling under the skin, vomiting, and drooling. His doctor said he would only know if the medication caused more headaches if he began using it.
“At that point, [we] still didn’t concretely know what was causing my cluster headaches,” he said. “I didn’t want to begin some prescription drug regimen that potentially would have been impossible to stop, particularly when we didn’t know if it would address the cause of the symptoms.”
Desperate for relief — and in spite of fears of getting “high” — Stein took a recommendation from a family member that he try CBD oil. “I really needed my constant, daily pain to be gone – it was limiting my life,” he said. Stein was unable to read the newspaper or even look at screens, and he was consistently waking up in the middle of the night due to the pain. Out of safe options, he obtained a license for medical cannabis in the state of California.
Little Jackson suffers from Cerebral Palsy and a severe bone disease called Chronic Recurrent Multivocal Osteomyelitis (CRMO). Jackson was unable to walk without the aid of a walker until his mom started him on low THC oil (ACDC coconut oil infusion 12:1 ratio). And then THIS happened.
Cannabinoids in cannabis occur naturally in human breast milk according to the latest findings. The human body contains cannabinoid receptors that are specifically designed to process cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the primary active components of cannabis. According to the findings of several major scientific studies, human breast milk naturally contains the same cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, which are vital for proper human development. Cell membranes in the body are naturally equipped with these cannabinoid receptors which, when activated by cannabinoids and various other nutritive substances, protect cells against viruses, harmful bacteria, cancer, and other malignancies. And human breast milk is an abundant source of endocannabinoids, a specific type of neuromodulatory lipid that basically teaches a newborn child how to eat by stimulating the suckling process.
If it were not for these cannabinoids in breast milk, newborn children would not know how to eat, nor would they necessarily have the desire to eat, which could result in severe malnourishment and even death. Newborn children who are breast-fed naturally receive doses of cannabinoids that trigger hunger and promote growth and development. Observations of how babies acts after being fed show they exhibit symptoms of cannabinoid use. As well as the essential function of stimulating an infants appetite, cannabinoids also help to calm and relax the baby. Cannabinoids are not, however, present in baby formula, which makes it far more inferior to breast milk.
Furthermore, a study on the endocannabinoid receptor system that was published in the European Journal of Pharmacology reported, “The medical implications of these novel developments are far reaching and suggest a promising future for cannabinoids in pediatric medicine for conditions including ‘non-organic failure-to-thrive’ and cystic fibrosis.” There are two types of cannabinoid receptors in the body; the CB1 variety which exists in the brain, and the CB2 variety which exists in the immune system and throughout the rest of the body. Each one of these receptors responds to cannabinoids, whether it be from human breast milk in children, or from cannabis.
In a separate study on the endocannabinoids published in the journal Pharmacological Reviews in 2006, researchers from the Laboratory of Physiologic Studies at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism uncovered even more about the benefits of cannabinoids. These include their ability to promote proper energy metabolism and appetite regulation, treat metabolic disorders, treat multiple sclerosis, and prevent neurodegeneration, among many other conditions. Cannabinoids, wether naturally produced in the body, or ingested from the cannabis plant itself play a vital function in strengthening the immune system and combatting many cancers and disease.
There are at least 85 active cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) is easily the most exciting though, offering a host of medicinal uses. CBD doesn’t have psychoactive effects, meaning you won’t get high by ingesting it.
Health Benefits of Cannabidiol
Cannabis is a profoundly powerful medicine that has been used for thousands of years. As science moves forward, we have been able to really examine just how the cannabis plant affects our body. What we have found is that it offers far more health benefits than previously thought, kind of a cure-all, from pain reliever to anti-cancer agent. We wanted to compile some of the well documented health benefits of cannabidiol to help raise awareness for this natural super-drug.
Cannabidiol has actually been found to negate some of the effects of THC (the psychoactive component in cannabis). More specifically, cannabidiol helps to prevent the acute memory impairment caused by Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 
Vitamin CBD – Antioxidant Benefits of Cannabidiol
We all know how important antioxidants are for our health, and we all know about Vitamin C and Vitamin E. What you probably didn’t know, is that cannabidiol is a more powerful antioxidant than either Vitamin C or E. 
The powerful antioxidant benefits of cannabidiol are thought to be partially responsible for it’s ability to fight chronic inflammation and protect brain cells from reactive oxygen species.
Cannabidiol for Pain Relief
“Cannabinoids may be superior to opioids in alleviating intractable pathologic pain syndromes.” – J. Manzanares
The cannabis plant is widely known for its analgesic properties. There are a few cannabinoids that help to relax muscles and relieve pain, but the most prominent is cannabidiol.
Cannabis extracts have been found to relieve pain even more effectively than opioid painkillers. Opioid pain relievers are widely prescribed for pain, however they pose some serious health concerns and are extremely addictive.
There is a lot of information to suggest cannabis and its extracts may be useful in the treatment of cancer. Many of you, our readers may not have the most expert knowledge of human biochemistry or in particular cellular biology so we have asked our research director to explain on a cellular level how cannabinoids can work in synergy with your Endocannabinoid system to fight cancer. Feel free to share and discuss this information with your doctors, consultants, friends and family.
What occurs at the cellular level when a cancer patient ingests cannabinoids?
The molecule of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) appears to be a natural fit for the CB1 cannabinoid receptor on the cancer cell surface. When THC enters into contact with this receptor the cell generates ceramide that disrupts the mitochondria, thus closing off the main energy source for the cell. This disruption of the mitochondria releases both ‘cytochrome c’ and ‘reactive oxygen species’ into the cytosol, thus hastening cell death. It is notable that this process is specific to cancer cells. Healthy cells have no reaction to THC at the CB1 receptor site. The increase in ceramide also disrupts calcium metabolism in the mitochondria, further hastening cell death.
The other cannabinoid also known to be effective in killing cancer cells is cannabidiol (CBD). The primary job of CBD in the cancer cell is to disrupt the endoplasmic reticulum through the interference of calcium metabolism, pushing calcium into the cytosol. This always results in cell death. Another pathway for CBD to cause cancer cell death is the “Caspase cascade”, which breaks down proteins and peptides in the cell. When this happens the cell cannot survive. Again, these processes are specific to cancer cells, normal cells are not affected.
Certain cannabinoids can destroy cancerous tumours by working symbiotically with our body’s endocannabinoid system: this is a simple yet fundamental premise.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) was discovered by researchers in the 1940s and by the late ‘60s its basic structure and functionality had been mapped out. Today we now know that the ECS is a comprehensive system of biochemical modulators that maintain homeostasis in all body systems including the central and peripheral nervous systems, all organ systems, somatic tissues, and all metabolic biochemical systems, including the immune system.
This homeostatic matrix is not just limited to humans and the endocannabinoid system has been found in every chordate creature which have existed in the past 500 million years. The ECS is a fully mature biochemical process that has maintained health and metabolic balance for most of the history of life itself.
CBD is extracted and separated from specific varieties of cannabis, often known as hemp. Chemically, CBD is one of 85 chemical substances known as cannabinoids, which are all found in the cannabis plant. CBD is the second most abundant compound in hemp, typically representing up to 40% of its extracts. However, here is where the confusion starts.
Unfortunately, the most abundant constituent of cannabis is the cannabinoid known as THC, an intoxicating and illegal substance that is responsible for causing marijuana users to get “high.” While CBD is completely separated and isolated from THC and CBD cannot get you “high,” there is still a lot of stigma as many people tend to mistake CBD for THC. These fears, though unfounded, are understandable to an extent, especially since the terminology surrounding CBD can be very confusing.
Nonetheless, it is impossible to get “high” by smoking or ingesting CBD-high hemp (that has only traces of THC), as it is also impossible to get high by consuming CBD oil products (that contain no THC at all). CBD is extracted in oil form and is often found mixed in hemp oil extracts in varying concentrations.
“Cannabinoids” is a blanket term covering a family of complex chemicals (both natural and man-made) that lock on to cannabinoid receptors – protein molecules on the surface of cells.
Humans have been using cannabis plants for medicinal and recreational purposes for thousands of years, but cannabinoids themselves were first purified from cannabis plants in the 1940s. The structure of the main active ingredient of cannabis plants – delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – was discovered in the 60s. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that researchers found the first cannabinoid receptor, followed shortly by the discovery that we create cannabinoid-like chemicals within our own bodies, known as endocannabinoids.
We have two main types of cannabinoid receptor, CB1 and CB2, which are found in different locations and do different things. CB1 is mostly found on cells in the nervous system, including certain areas of the brain and the ends of nerves throughout the body, while CB2 receptors are mostly found in cells from the immune system. Because of their location in the brain, it’s thought that CB1 receptors are responsible for the infamous ‘high’ (known as psychoactive effects) resulting from using cannabis.
There is also a third family of cannabinoid receptors, known as GPR, of which the main type is GPR55. Less is known about these receptors, but researchers are investigating them to see if they could lead to effective approaches for treating cancer. [Updated KA 14/08/14]
Over the past couple of decades scientists have found that endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors are involved in a vast array of functions in our bodies, including helping to control brain and nerve activity (including memory and pain), energy metabolism, heart function, the immune system and even reproduction. Because of this molecular multitasking, they’re implicated in a huge range of illnesses, from cancer to neurodegenerative diseases.